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South Korea president-elect questioned in fraud probe

[JURIST] South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak [official website] was questioned Sunday by a special prosecutor's team regarding his alleged involvement in a 2001 stock manipulation scheme involving a former business partner and the investment firm BBK [corporate website]. Lee, former mayor of Seoul, had previously been cleared of the allegations, but the Constituional Court of Korea [official website, in Korean] in January allowed the appointment a special prosecutor [JURIST report] after a video surfaced allegedly linking Lee to BBK. Lee has denied any wrongdoing and an official from the special prosecutor's office said he was cooperating with the investigation.

The 40-day window for the special investigation will expire on February 23, just two days before Lee takes office on February 25. South Korea [JURIST news archive] grants immunity to sitting presidents for all criminal lawsuits outside of very serious crimes. Lee won a landslide victory [BBC report] in South Korea's presidential election in December, despite the fraud claims. AP has more. The Korea Times has local coverage.

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